Jobcentre adviser: “The reforms have been designed to hide the numbers of unemployed.”

kamsandhu —  April 29, 2014 — 24 Comments

We interviewed a Jobcentre adviser to ask about their experiences of welfare reforms since the coalition came to power. Having seen the changes and effects of unprecedented reforms, we wanted to know how their job experiences and demands had changed. Following on from our other interview last week, we bring you a second interview with a Jobcentre Adviser.

In the first part of this interview we talk about changes to welfare since the coalition and how the number of unemployed is remaining hidden under reforms.

Image: The guardian

Image: The guardian

How long have you worked in the job centre?

“10 years+ and in numerous positions.”

What are your thoughts and experiences of welfare reforms and rules since the coalition came to power? How have they changed? What are they aimed towards? What have been the effects on the people you serve? 

“It is clear that the Coalition/Tories have created a determined propaganda campaign against the most vulnerable members of society.  From Osborne’s shirkers and workers speech to the ‘hardworking people’ mantra.  Clearly designed to separate claimants from those who feel they are hard done to. If you can make the masses think that claimants are feckless lazy scum, you can get away with doing virtually anything to them.  Who will stand up for the worthless?  Well, Tory soundbites differ from the reality and I should know as I see it daily.  Are there lazy people who do not want to work? Yes.  I will not lie.  However, these are in the minority.  For some it is a transitory phase.  Most do want to work and indeed sign off when the opportunity arises.  Not through force, but for a number of other reasons.  If jobs existed in the numbers that are required, they would find work. It’s all very well Duncan Smith and McVey spouting that there are x thousand jobs in the system.  If you need experience in z and you only have experience in y, you aren’t going to get the job.

“I have witnessed several grown men with learning needs and disabilities crying and begging not to be sanctioned.  I thought we were meant to help the vulnerable but we are now just a tool to get the numbers to back up the Coalition agenda.

“The reforms have been designed to hide the numbers of unemployed.  So many have been sanctioned and are not counted in the official figures.  Many are desperate and will take these Mickey Mouse zero-hour contracts to escape the fortnightly gauntlet.  I must also add truthfully that I had never come across a zero hours vacancy until the last couple of years.  That is not to say they did not exist but I never encountered one.  Now they are everywhere.

“Apprenticeships are another tool to hide unemployment figures.  Very cynical.  Older folks will hear the spin – ‘1 million apprenticeships,’ and say ‘great!’.   Wrong! Coffee shop apprentices, call centre apprentices etc, are just a way for employers to undercut the minimum wage.  They are doing this in the thousands.  Who can blame them?  £98 per week and then get a new one in after 12 months.  Fantastic! Britain now has a time served coffee shop worker to compete in Cameron’s global race.

“Wage Incentives. This scheme is an absolute disgrace.  Employ an 18 – 24 yr old for 6 months and the taxpayer will give you £2.5k.  Paid at minimum wage you will make a profit even if you get them to lick stamps. Vacancies that were full paid jobs are now changing to Wage Incentive vacancies as Job-centre staff convince employers to accept money for nothing.  This is seriously affecting the jobs market and it is all down to Coalition pressure to increase Wage Incentive targets.  They can then claim falsely that the scheme has created 1000’s of vacancies, when in truth it hasn’t.  The vacancies were already there.  The taxpayer has just paid 2.5k to employ A instead of B.  Economic sense? Nope.”

Have you referred claimants to a food bank? If so, what were the reasons? Can you tell us about any experiences in particular?

“I have referred several customers to food banks.  Mainly following a sanction.  Although we were instructed to ‘signpost’ rather than ‘refer’, several months ago, after the press got hold of what we were doing.  Prior to this we did have official instructions from a senior level to refer to food banks after the withdrawal of ‘Crisis Loans’.  I have personally arranged food parcel deliveries for customers who for various reasons have ran out of food.  I do not know how they manage on £71 or £56 per week.”

Read Part 2 of this interview tomorrow.




24 responses to Jobcentre adviser: “The reforms have been designed to hide the numbers of unemployed.”


    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating and commented:
    Another insightful interview with a JC+ worker.
    This is a part 1 of a 2 part interview


    Always thought this was the case JC+ are mea’nt to be there to help not a first point to sanction disgraceful


    Reblogged on


    Soul destroying reading this let alone having to go through with it. Keep strong all these muppets lord it over us for far to long but people will remember & not forget the evils that have been perpetrated on us all, when that time comes it will be fury that holds no bounds.


    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    There are no words!


    even if u are ill they will force u into work and mental health they do not see as an illness just put them under so much pressure makes their mental health even worse ,how shame full


    I don’t know where this ‘person’ has been employed in the Job centre but obviously she has been locked in a closet in the back office for all of that because ‘Zero’ hrs isn’t a new thing,It has been around for over 15 yrs and is commonly referred to as ‘Job and Finish’.Employer offers you a job of upto 35 hrs pw,You aren’t contracted to do those hrs and employer is under no obligation to pay you for 35 hrs,You turn up at work and the employer tells you if there’s any work or not,If there isn’t ,you’re on your way home and out of pocket,Not even any bus fare home and You can’t claim any benefits because you have a Job and sometimes you’d be lucky to get in ten hrs a week because as soon as the job was done,They sent you home.
    It’s very easy to blame the Con/Dems but this has been going on since Labour got in power back in ’97 and was introduced at a time when Labour where looking to the USA for new ideas,Yes they brought us back Zero hr contracts,and introduced them into New Deal which encouraged business to start ‘Job and Finish’ contracts to reduce unemployment.It was a way for Labour to fiddle the unemployment figures,Why are you only now just hearing about it?Well that’s because it’s out in the open now Labour aren’t in power to cover it up and now Labour are trying to use it as a tool against Con/Dem as though Con//Dem introduced it!.It’s all there on google people,Use your fingers!


      All of the governments since the misunderstood Michael Foot have used the US model for “social security” Since then the only people who are secure are the socialites on the top of the pile.
      This is what was meant by a return to Victorian values. If they do privatise the NHS average life expectancy, and therefore unemployment and pension costs will reach the Victorian level quite quickly.


      Zero hours contracts may well have been around for 15 years, that’s not contradicting what the brave interviewee said ” I must also add truthfully that I had never come across a zero hours vacancy until the last couple of years. That is not to say they did not exist but I never encountered one. Now they are everywhere.”

      That sanctions (one million last year!), apprenticeships and workexperience all have the desirable effect of lowering the headline ‘jobless’ figures is incontrovertable.


    Reblogged this on My musings – independence & politics and commented:
    An interview with a job center adviser…


    “It is clear that the Coalition/Tories have created a determined propaganda campaign against the most vulnerable members of society. ”

    From this very first sentence you can immediately determine the politics of the interviewee and know that you’re in for something somewhat lacking in objectivity.


      How do you know that? Might it not be that the interviewee has come to this conclusion based on the evidence all around them?

      Do you have evidence that contradicts what this person says? If not, how do you know that this account is not objective?


      Hi Adam, I don’t believe that’s true. The question is about how the job has changed since the coalition came to power, and asks what the policies are aimed at from the adviser’s perspective. They are answering the question.


    This falls very much into the “bleedin’ obvious” category……the gov’t is using words like apprentice to polish the sepia tinted spectacles of the over 50’s…..

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Jobcentre Adviser: “I am unable to emphasise enough, what a massive con and waste of taxpayer’s money the Work Programme is.” « - April 30, 2014

    […] In the second part of our interview with a Jobcentre adviser we talk about sanctions and the Work Programme. Read the first part of the interview here. […]

  2. Self employment, money and post-crash economics « alittleecon - May 4, 2014

    […] Jobcentre adviser: “The reforms have been designed to hide the numbers of unemployed.” […]

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